Expanding New Jersey's Colleges and Universities – Rebuilding New Jersey's Economy

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June 8, 2010 – Higher education leaders today outlined capital projects that are under construction, currently in planning or represent unmet needs—with continuing concern expressed over what funding resources are going to be available.

Their presentations were made to a capacity audience of over 200 at a statewide conference in Trenton sponsored by the New Jersey Alliance for Action, which was entitled “Building For Tomorrow’s Leaders.” The participants included executives of both public and private colleges and universities in the state.

Alliance President Philip K. Beachem, declared that capital construction projects for higher education play a vital role in boosting the state’s economy and lowering unemployment in the hard-hit construction industry.

New Jersey’s 19 community colleges were represented by Steven Rose, President of Passaic County Community College. He declared that the 19 community colleges have approximately $1 billion in unmet needs. He asserted that New Jersey leads the nation with 30% of its students leaving the state for out-of state institutions. He stressed that the 19 community colleges serve over 400,000 students, but no new capital funding is expected this year from the state.

In other presentations:

• President Robert Altenkirch of New Jersey Institute of Technology, discussed two major construction projects that are being initiated—a campus master plan and a campus gateway plan, which is part of community neighborhood development.

• Anthony Calcado, Vice President of Facilities & Capital Planning, Rutgers University, reported that the State University has approximately $650 million in projects now in construction or being designed. He said this includes plans for $215 million in housing for the Rutgers Livingston Campus and $85 million for the new business school.

• Curt Heuring, Vice President for Facilities Management, Construction & Campus Safety, The College of New Jersey, said the College is committed to $18 million in asset renewal projects and $45 million in major capital construction over the next two years. He added that construction for $40 million School of Education is going out for public bid.

• Michael McKay, Vice President of Facilities, Princeton University, said Princeton plans an arts neighborhood and a center for energy and environment during the period of 2012 to 2015. He noted that ground was broken for a neuroscience building, with completion scheduled for 2013.

The conference included a panel discussion on how and when public-private partnership agreements can be utilized by colleges and universities to develop needed capital programs. It was moderated by Robert Gerard, Chief Marketing Officer, Birdsall Services Group, who also served as Chairman of the conference. The panel participants agreed that public-private partnership projects must involve early discussion of risk, responsibility and rewards.

Other presentations at the conference were made by representatives of Rider University, Rowan University, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and New Jersey City University.


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